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World War II Veteran From New Jersey Receives Purple Heart Award

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NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) — A World War II veteran from New Jersey has received the Purple Heart award seven decades later.

As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, 96-year-old John LaPuzz is mentally very sharp and happy the government is finally providing him the long-awaited medal. “I feel great. I feel great.”

The presentation of the award, for being wounded in combat, was made by Rep. Bill Pascrell, who worked to correct the oversight.

“Take my word for it, it was a bureaucratic nightmare,” Pascrell said.

LaPuzz, who lived in Paterson, N.J., was a private first class in the Army. He was a machine-gunner on the back of a truck in Italy when he was wounded on July 29, 1944.

“All of a sudden, I felt blood running down my arm. I look and I was hit by some kind of flack,” LaPuzz recalled.

His daughter, Paula Fenimore, told Slattery that he was treated for the wounds and sent back into action. “He’s unbelievable. He’s amazing,” Fenimore said.

LaPuzz, who had already been awarded a Bronze Star for heroism, said his records had mistakes and the Purple Heart was not properly noted.

That’s now been corrected and witnessed by other veterans, many of whom were wounded themselves, Slattery reported.

There were more than 16 million Americans who served in World War II. Some 400,000 were killed.

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